A Conversation with the Headmistress of the Roche School on the 11+ process


The Roche School is an independent family owned, co-educational, nursery and primary school offering children a wide range of academic, creative and sporting opportunities on the boundary of Putney and Wandsworth. Their rigorous Transition to Secondary School Programme has reaped dividends again this year with Year 6 children achieving 36 scholarships and offers at many wonderful senior schools.

Here, Headmistress Vania Adams shares her expertise on the 11+ process.

The mention of the 11+ examinations can be enough to give any London parent the jitters, but what is the 11+ exam and how can you ensure your child is ready to take it? Broadly speaking, the 11+ examinations are the means by which the independent and grammar sectors decide on who will form their Year 7 cohort. Taken in the Autumn and Spring terms of Year 6, the exams are not necessarily a “one size fits all” approach since they differ in form and level from school to school with each placing a variable emphasis on academic and interpersonal skills.

If you have decided to engage with this system, a certain amount of preparation is inevitable. Keep the academics as steady as possible since Maths, English and Reasoning all play their part in an entrance exam as well as good presentation and interview skills. Beware of hot-housing and over-tutoring as it can be counter-productive. Prioritising a happy child with individuality, varying interests and good mental health is more important than squeezing the pips out of them to the point that they don’t enjoy their learning at all.

If your child already attends an independent school, it should be a “given” that you receive excellent, tailored advice and that your child will be thoroughly prepared. Elsewhere, there are consultants who can help you, although your own research, as well as a good understanding of your child’s particular profile, will enable you to put together a great shortlist. There are many options: co-ed, single sex, day, boarding and flexi-boarding as well as a range of good state schools. Schools will vary in terms of vision, values and culture. Dig deep in this respect, checking out the pastoral care and commitment to equality as well as the results!

The Roche School focus on placing children in the schools in which they are most likely to excel and which are best suited to their wider profile. Much goes into them being ready emotionally and intellectually for the exams but beyond this point – beyond the acceptance of the school and the thrill of success – they focus on the skills that enable a smooth transition. Study skills, behaviours for learning, growing independence, emotional and social intelligence and strong values will ensure that your child really does have something to bring to the table when they start the next part of their education.

The Roche School, Frogmore, London SW18 1HW



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